Trade Skills 4U reaps rewards following Palatine investment
Established in 2005 and originally based in Gatwick and Warrington, Trade Skills 4U was founded by Carl Bennett who identified a gap in the market to provide specialist training to post-college age candidates who wish to refresh or retrain in electrical trade skills and to help bridge the skills gap in the industry. The company mission is to provide inclusive access, helping people from varied backgrounds to change their lives. Trade Skills 4U also delivers a number of corporate training programmes for clients such as BT and British Gas, providing enhanced training to those already working in the industry to help evolve and refresh their skills.
To support its inclusive access mission, the company works closely with ex-military, providing re-settlement courses for service leavers and a bursary scheme for forgotten heroes who require a new career path. The business is overcoming industry barriers in attracting women into the electrical trade with their female intake more than doubling in two years, exceeding the industry average. With an impressive 85 per cent of career changers finding employment within six months of completion, Trade Skills 4U now helped over 900 students find jobs in the electrical industry every year.
Palatine’s investment from its Impact Fund in 2017 has enabled Trade Skills 4U to open new sites, including a centre in Leeds in May 2018 and more recently, a site in Coventry. All locations are close to areas of medium to high multiple deprivation. This has led to a threefold increase in student numbers, from circa 3,600 in August 2018 to a current total of 10,900 across all sites.
The investment has helped the business to attract more high-quality tutors and has doubled its members of staff from 30 to 60. The company has also opened short course locations across the country. This includes sites in Berkshire, London, Newcastle, Hertfordshire, Bristol and Cardiff.
Palatine Private Equity raised its £100m Impact Fund in 2017 with the aim of generating returns with purpose. The fund invests in businesses that are profitable, scalable and that create a positive impact on society and / or the environment, whilst also generating market rate returns.
“We believe impact investing has a role to play in helping businesses change and evolve our society and/ or the environment for the better. Trade Skills 4U exemplifies a profitable and scalable company that provides a high-quality service aimed at improving the lives of others. It is widely known that the UK suffers from a skills shortage within the electrical industry, an issue which Carl and his team are making impressive strides to address whilst also helping tens of thousands of adults become more employable as a result.”
Beth Houghton – Partner & Head of the Impact Fund at Palatine Private Equity